If you want to practice as an HVAC technician in Alabama, you will need the right license and Alabama HVAC certification, which is obtainable via two options. One is by graduating from a 2-year course with an approved curriculum in Commercial Refrigeration or Heating and Air Conditioning. The other is by having at least 3,000 hours of working experience. By working as a technician in Alabama, you can expect around $36,000 to $42,000 every year with HVAC salary with a rate of $20 per hour.
What are the Licensing Requirements for Alabama HVAC certification?
The Alabama Board of Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Contractors is the body regulating the license of contractors who render HVAC services on heating and/or cooling units, with the exception of window units and cannot be inside cars or agricultural machinery.
As an HVAC technician, your license will allow you to deliver HVAC repair services in systems like ventilation, walk-in coolers, heat pumps, central heating, gas piping, and more. You’ll also receive training on how to read technical plans and blueprints. You’ll even learn how to replace defective electrical equipment like breakers.
Aside from those, HVAC training also includes steps on pipe fitting, adding freon to an air conditioner, and discovering the presence of gas leaks. You’ll also learn about the proper use of nitrogen for detecting leaks as well as proper safety methods when dealing with refrigerants.
Taking the Examination
Before you get a license to work as a heating and air technician, you need to pass the licensure examination first to obtain Alabama HVAC certification. You’ll need to pay the application fee worth $150 and show proof of completing an apprenticeship or graduating from one of these colleges with an approved curriculum:
- Alabama Power Company
- Columbus Technical College
- Construction Education Foundation of Alabama
- Fortis College
- Gwinnett Technical College, Lawrenceville, Georgia
- George Stone Technical Center HVAC Program
- F. Drake State Technical College
- Lindsey-Cooper Refrigeration School
- NARS Training System
- Trenholm State Technical College
- West Georgia Technical College
- Virginia College – Birmingham
It’s important to show your proof of work experience as an HVAC technician in the form of an affidavit signed by your employer and a W-2 tax form. However, the approval is for the Board to decide after careful review and assessment.
If you managed to pass the examination, a performance bond of at least $15,000 is required to become an active contractor. An inactive license simply means you won’t be able to perform any HVAC-related works.
Applying for License Reciprocity
If you’re a licensed HVAC technician in either Louisiana, Mississippi, or Tennessee, you can apply for license reciprocity in the state of Alabama, this gives you Alabama HVAC certification.
To apply for reciprocity, you need to submit notarized application forms and pay a processing fee of $165 if you’re an active contractor or $82.50 if you’re inactive. Also, you need to have a $15,000 performance bond.
It’s important to disclose any administrative penalties with regards to your practice in the field of HVAC or Refrigeration. You should also include any history of formal reprimands and license suspensions if any.
Additional Requirements for Alabama HVAC certification
Once you fully accomplished all application forms and passed the exams, you then have to complete four hours of continuing HVAC education every year. Aside from the initial examination, you should be EPA certified to allow you to purchase refrigerants.
It’s of utmost importance to be knowledgeable about all federal regulations that govern refrigerants.
The Examination Process
Before you get your license as an HVAC technician in Alabama, you need to pass both the Alabama Licensure Examination and the EPA Certification Examination.
Alabama Licensure Exam for HVAC Technicians
You need to pay the examination fee which costs $125 to the Alabama Board of Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Contractors. The exam, which is administered by PSI Exam Services, has a total of 80 questions.
You are given four hours to answer all questions. The minimum passing score is at least 66 percent, which is 53 correct answers out of 80.
You can choose to register for the exam via online or telephone once your application is approved. The exam will be held in the following areas:
It’s important to arrive 30 minutes earlier before the start time so you can have your identification verified before the exam starts. You should show at least two proofs of identification that bear your printed name and signature. Another proof of identification must include your photo.
The exam will tackle various areas including air conditioning, furnaces, heaters, heat pump systems, refrigerants, residential load calculations, and ventilation and exhaust.
EPA Certification Exam
The EPA Section 608 certification exam is needed if you want to legally purchase refrigerants across the US. The certification comes in different types; namely Type I, Type II, Type III, and also the Universal certification.
Type I certification allows you to work on smaller applications, while Type II allows you to repair or replace high-pressure appliances. A Type III certification is necessary if you want to service or scrap low-pressure appliances. Lastly, the Universal certification allows you to service all three of the appliance types.
The exams are proctored, and if you want some reliable materials to prepare for the exam, you can check Mainstream Engineering.
The examinations are open book. If you bring reference materials, you need to consider the following:
- Each reference material should be spiral-bound or placed in a binder. You can download it from the internet, or purchase it from the PSI Online Store. It’s allowed to highlight or even jot notes on your copies before the examination period.
- Writing on your reference materials during the examination is not allowed. If you happened to write on your reference material, you have to hand it over to your proctor.
- Personal items and gadgets such as cameras, smartphones, laptops, tablets, iPods, or electronic watches are prohibited.
- You are allowed to bring a calculator as long as it’s non-programmable and doesn’t have an alphabetical keyboard.
- Wearing bulky clothing that can hide notes is strictly prohibited. A clothing item like an overcoat or heavy jacket isn’t You’re also not allowed to wear any headgear that doesn’t have any religious purpose. Accessories and items like notebooks, wallets, foods, purses, and drinks should be left in a secured storage area.
- Including any bookmarks or post-its in your reference materials during the examination period is not allowed. You can, however, add permanent tabs to your reference material as long as they attached firmly.
- You can’t bring a non-examinee with you to the testing center. Having someone wait for you at the testing center is also not allowed. A thorough inspection of your tie tacks and eyeglasses is necessary to make sure that they have no recording devices attached. Your proctors may even request you to empty your pockets before the examination.
Topics Included in the Test
There are 60 questions that make up the exam’s Refrigeration section. The minimum passing score required is 40. You are given 150 minutes to complete this section.
The topics that are included in this examination are inspecting, testing, and troubleshooting refrigeration appliances. It also tackles refrigeration systems and their controls, refrigerant piping, and general knowledge regarding the area.
On the other hand, the exam’s HVAC section has 80 questions with a passing score of 53. You need to finish answering all questions within 240 minutes. The topics included in the HVAC section are as follows:
- Air conditioning
- Cooling principles
- Combustion air
- Furnaces and heaters
- Heat pump systems
- Heating and cooling principles
- Load calculations
Once you become a licensed HVAC technician and get Alabama HVAC certification, you may train an apprentice on the job.
Someone who undergoes an apprenticeship in Alabama should complete at least 3,000 hours of work experience before he’s eligible to apply for the licensure examination. However, most new technicians are able to apply by graduating from a two-year community college with an approved trade training curriculum.
Once you’re licensed, you need to complete continuing education if you want to maintain your license and perform servicing throughout Alabama. It is clear how valuable Alabama HVAC certification is, so make sure you work hard, and complete all the required steps.